Kazakhstan Part 3 – Tamgaly-Tas

I visited the Tamgaly-Tas petroglyph site on the banks of the Ili River at the beginning of a two-day trip to the Altyn-Emel National Park. Here follows a quote from an article entitled Kazakhstan: The Petroglyph Site of Tamgaly-Tas, in the book Heritage at Risk:

“The stones of Tamgaly-Tas were engraved by the Oirat-Djungar (or Kalmyk) people who were Western Mongol tribes converted to Tibetan Lamaist Tantric Buddhism in the 16th century. Under the rule of Galdan, they built the new and last of the steppe empires in conflict with the Manchu, Russian and Kazakh powers. During the early 18th century, the Djungar conquered East Semirechie and moved their headquarter from Semipalatinsk to Kulja. It was at that time that Tamgaly-Tas was built (1705–1710?).”
Tamgaly Tas

Tamgaly Tas

I first read about the Tamgaly Petroglyphs, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, in a book on the Bronze Age archaeology of the Scythian Nomads called Kurgans, ritual sites, and settlements — Edited by Jeannine Davis-Kimball

Visiting that site was the main purpose of my trip to Kazakhstan, and it wasn’t easy to reach. No tours or tourists were interested in such a place, so I had to hire my own driver to get out there.


Tamgaly Petroglyphs

Tamgaly Petroglyphs

I visited Kazakhstan during the summer of 2017, basing myself in the old captital of Almaty. I stayed in a dorm at the Almaty Backpacker’s Hostel, and it was about a twenty minute walk to the center of town. One of my first trips was to the Central Museum to see their collection of Scythian gold.

Almaty is the cultural center of the country and it looks like a modern overlay on an old Russian city. Blonde Blue-eyed Russians seemed to outnumber the native Kazakhs in the city.


Almaty, Kazakhstan – August 2017

I’m off to Central Asia next week and decided that my usual necklace is too valuable for adventure travel. Thus I created a new one specifically for this trip. One of my goals is to buy more ancient beads and I need examples to show the merchants.

This necklace has a Bronze Age pendant–thogchag; from the Gobi Desert, approximately 500BC; a 2,500 BC ceramic bead from Balkh; Tibetan coral; Tibetan turquoise; Afghan agates and lapis lazuli; Etched carnelians from Taxila, 2,000 years old; Afghan turquoise, 2,000 BC; and Kazakh coral. If anyone is interested it is for sale–$2,500.00!

New Necklace

Antique Bead Necklace

Fire Flowers – 2017

This year’s fireworks display – Fire Flowers [花火] in Japanese – was held on Saturday, July 29th. Rather than the usual, colorful photos, I decided to try something a bit more artsie-fartsie, and not only used Black and White, but I reversed the images to negative. Now they look much more like Japanese Sumo-e ink drawings. I rather like the effect.